AURORA -- The No. 4-ranked Regis Jesuit baseball team expected nothing less from No. 6 ThunderRidge in Friday’s Continental League showdown.
The Raiders (14-3, 9-0) got all they could handle and then some but managed to keep their league mark unblemished as they took a 7-5 victory.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Regis left fielder Quin Cotton said, despite ThunderRidge entering the game at 10-5, 5-3 in league.
The Raiders broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by Zach Woodruff’s two-run triple.
But the Grizzlies (10-6, 5-4) weren’t about to give in. After scattering four hits through the first five innings, they finally got to Regis starting pitcher Brent Schwarz in the sixth.
Schwarz gave way to reliever David Peterson, who promptly gave up a pair of run-scoring doubles as ThunderRidge tied the game.
At that point, the Grizzlies had the momentum. They kept it going by getting two quick outs on Regis in the bottom of the sixth.
That’s when Woodruff, the No. 9 batter in the Raiders’ lineup, came up. He lined a triple to center field.
“I’m just thinking, there’s no way we’re going 1-2-3,” he said of his mindset as he stepped to the plate.
That set the table for Cotton, who drilled a fastball over the leftfield fence to help the Raiders regain the lead.
“I was just trying to do my job,” Cotton said.
But the Grizzlies refused to go quietly. They loaded the bases with two outs before Peterson induced a ground-out to end the game.
The see-saw battle turned out to be every bit as exciting as a 5A top 10 match-up can be. While it wasn’t a blowout win, it was still the kind of win that any coach would take over a league rival.
“That’s all right,” said Regis coach Matt Darr. “Those are character wins.”
Both teams are back in action Monday as Regis travels south to take on Castle View while the Grizzlies travel to Legend.